Blogs

In a recent newspaper column, outgoing University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker raised the important issue of the spiraling cost of college education in America. His description of the tough choices faced by students striving for higher education, and their families, was spot on.

President Harker missed the mark, however, when he laid blame for his institution’s perennial tuition and fee increases at the feet of UD faculty and Delaware taxpayers.

 

A teacher in New York recently tweeted: “I taught in the South Bronx and students passed exams at 50 percent, now I am in the suburbs and they pass at 95 percent. I am the same teacher.” This simple example illustrates the fallacy of using standardized test scores to “grade” teachers. But teachers will be OK. They have professional associations to advocate for them.

When I was a boy growing up in Smyrna, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the ringing of the telephone. My father would answer and tell the person on the other end of the line that he was on his way, then he’d put on his coat and head out the door.

He was going to the hospital to save someone’s life, but my father wasn’t a doctor or nurse. He was a lifetime donor and member of the Blood Bank of Delmarva, and since his blood type was rare, he was on a special list of members to call when someone was in dire need of blood, day or night.

My fellow members of the capital budget committee and our colleagues on the operating budget committee have heard many calls to simply cut spending across the board. Since I’ve been a member of the House, every budget we’ve worked on has required significant cuts, which we have made. It’s been our mission to realize savings and efficiencies wherever we can find them in the budget, without jeopardizing the services and programs that Delawareans rely on. 

The General Assembly's Joint Finance Committee started it's second week of work today on Delaware's fiscal year 2016 operating budget, continuing its series of public hearings with state agencies to discuss their budget priorities and requests.

Thank you for putting your trust in me to serve as your voice in Dover. This will be a very special year.

The House’s Wilmington delegation sent this letter to Gov. Markell at the end of December, offering help and pledging to work cooperatively to help formulate and implement solutions to the city’s crime problem.

Last month the panel responsible for calculating the state’s budget projections announced the creation of a task force that will conduct a thorough review of the various revenue streams that fund state government. Click here to read more about the task force in this report from WDDE news.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council, commonly referred to as DEFAC, structured the task force to include members from throughout state government, including members of the General Assembly. Middletown-area Rep. Quinn Johnson, who chairs the Legislature’s joint capital budget committee, was selected to represent the House Majority Caucus on the task force.

The task force is scheduled to have its first meeting this month and produce a final report in the spring.

 

A bipartisan group of 18 Representatives and Senators sent a letter to DNREC officials Wednesday opposing a composting plant in Wilmington that has amassed several violations in recent years.

Christopher K. Smith Memorial Scholarship

Delaware’s professional educators - the 12,000 members of the Delaware State Education Association - are offering a scholarship of $1,000 per year for four years in order to help a future teacher enter today’s most rewarding, critical, and challenging profession.

The members of DSEA invite all high school seniors graduating from a public school, who intend to pursue a career in teaching, to apply for this DSEA scholarship.

Stateline, the state government blog run by the Pew Charitable Trusts, took a deep look at the recent controversy surrounding what happens to our digital assets after we die. 

Five years ago this past Wednesday, I stood in the heart of my district at CAMP Rehoboth, surrounded by hundreds of friends and supporters, and watched Gov. Jack Markell sign into law legislation that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Our weekly caucus email newsletter.

Our weekly caucus email newsletter.

When students visit Delaware City, they board a ferry and head to Pea Patch Island to tour Fort Dela­ware. They bypass a historic site on the mainland that played a role during the Civil War and World War II, because it has long been forgotten

HB 309 does not ban e-cigarettes. We have seen this in comments and posts about the bill, and it needs to be stated clearly that in no way does HB 309 affect the sale of e-cigarettes. It only limits where they can be used in public. Right now, someone can pull out an e-cigarette in a crowded restaurant and puff away.

“In light of the information shared today by State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings regarding the misuse of state resources by Chief Medical Examiner Richard T. Callery, I believe Mr. Callery should be suspended from his duties without pay, pending further investigation of this possibly criminal activity.

Highlights from this week in the House.

Governor Jack Markell signed legislation Thursday sponsored by Reps. J.J. Johnson and Helene Keeley and Sen. Bryan Townsend to prohibit public employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record before their first interview.

Red Clay School Board elections will be held on May 13th. You do not need to be a registered voter to vote in the school board election, you just have to reside in the Red Clay School District.

In this issue, items on e-cigarette legislation, 'Ban the box' and a 9-year-old's efforts to help Delaware's homeless and hungry.

Bills enhance the role of the PIC, provide a needed funding source

By Dr. Wilma Mishoe

On behalf of all the members of Delaware’s Public Integrity Commission, I want to thank the group of lawmakers in our General Assembly who, in collaboration with the Commission, recently introduced a package of legislation designed to improve and expand our agency’s ability to ensure transparency and public accountability in our government.

Delaware will observe National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at collection sites located throughout the state.

Click here for more information and to find a location near you.

Highlights from this week in the House

By Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden

Today we mark Equal Pay Day in the General Assembly. Equal Pay Day marks the extra time the average American women would need to work to earn as much as her average male counterpart did in the previous years.

Our weekly caucus email newsletter, highlighting events and business from Legislative Hall.

A bipartisan, bicameral group of 20 legislators sent a letter Thursday to the Department of Education raising concerns about new charter school applications currently being considered.

The General Assembly returned to session this week after six weeks of budget hearings, and things have been very busy in Legislative Hall.

A listing of bill activity from this week, including introductions, committee action and floor votes. 

I was very pleased with the dialogue that was started at the rail safety meeting I hosted earlier this month. With over 150 members of the community in attendance, the panelists were able to answer a number of important questions from what exactly is being carried in the tanker trains to how often the rail crossing are being inspected.

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